Mayoral Candidate Diop Olugbala Denounces Nutter’s Curfew Plan
A small crowd gathered on the west side of City Hall this afternoon to catch a speech by Diop Olugbala, who just announced his intention to run for mayor as an independent. They’re there to listen to his denouncement of Mayor Nutter’s plan to fight flash mobs by putting harsh restrictions on misbehaving youth caught breaking curfew.
“The curfew is completely inappropriate—it’s really a collective punishment on the masses of the people in the city, particularly the black and Latino community,” says Olugbala—who’s affiliated with the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement—referring to Nutter’s controversial sermon last weekend.
Olugbala says he wants to create a youth-relations commission to give a platform for young Philadelphians to voice their concerns. “We’re saying the money going towards the building of more prisons … needs to go toward schools to provide a real meaningful future for our youth.” He says that he wants to fight the budget cuts to the School District and add vocational programs to provide skills to the city’s youth.
“The only solution that comes even close to what we’re saying, coming from my opponent, is to extend the hours of recreation centers for two hours,” Olugbala says.
“I’m also calling for a community-controlled board of education that has the ability to hire and fire faculty, administration and staff and also create the curriculum for the schools. I intend to wipe the slate clean and build from the bottom up.” Something tells us he’s not the only one who would support that idea.
By Olugbala’s side is Simon “One Punch” Carr, a former professional boxer from Philly who says he plans on spearheading Olugbala’s idea for the creation of a youth commission.
On Monday, Carr sported an IPledge T-shirt at Nutter’s flash-mob-crackdown announcement, not far from where Olugbala’s press conference took place today. Carr says while he supports the IPledge campaign, he thinks Olugbala’s idea for a youth commission and more youth-oriented programming are part of the solution to youth violence and flash mobs. He says that, as a worker at a recreation center, he’s already been in contact with young people interested in participating in the commission.
“I’m still pledging … to be there for the youth,” Ogbula says, but he notes, “just opening up a rec center for an additional two hours, do you think the youth are really going to go there?” He notes that no new programs, such as recreational activities or dances, have been mentioned in the mayor’s plan. “I thought about that the other day and it just didn’t sit with me too well.”